Exchange 2003 gets antispam, antivirus

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In San Francisco this week for RSA Conference 2003, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, the upcoming release of the company's messaging server, will include pervasive antispam and antivirus features. The new antispam technology will let Microsoft partners integrate their own antispam products into Exchange. The company has also updated Virus Scanning API (VS API) to version 2.5, adding new features that will further secure the product. Microsoft recently issued Exchange 2003 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) to testers; the final version will ship mid-year.

"We know customers' pain," said Kevin McCuistion, director of marketing, product planning, and business development for Exchange Server. "Security and privacy are more important than ever right now and, as an industry leader, we know Exchange and its industry partners have to offer an end-to-end solution to customers that will help fend off security threats at the gateway, on the mailbox server, and at an end user's mailbox. Microsoft's philosophy is to stop viruses and spam at the network perimeter, keeping end users focused on the task at hand. We have provided a solid baseline of functionality in the core Exchange 2003 product and now with these two tools partners can provide an additional layer of security."

In a bid to stop spam at the network perimeter, Microsoft is adding an extensible antispam tool to Exchange 2003 that will let partner solutions scan incoming email messages and apply a Spam Confidence Level (SCL) score to each message; Exchange will forward messages to a global junk-mail folder according to a threshold that the Exchange administrator sets. In addition, the antispam features in Exchange 2003 will work directly with the new junk-mail filter in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, the upcoming release of Microsoft's premier messaging and personal information manager (PIM) client. Outlook 2003 users will be able to store their Safe and Block Senders lists on Exchange 2003 so that the lists are available from Outlook Web Access (OWA) or any other Outlook 2003 client.

VS API 2.5 scans email at the network perimeter, preventing virus-infected email messages from reaching users' Inboxes or being sent outside the firewall. Antivirus solutions written to VS API 2.5 will also have options to delete infected email and send warning messages when infected email messages are sent or received.

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